Friday, October 31, 2008

Straw Fun

Straw bales have provided hours of fun as our little guys jump and play in it - spreading it around the shelter for the cattle to use in the winter:

Pick-Me-Up Shake

Here's a great shake that pleasantly offers a lot of nutritional benefits:

Energizing Shake
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses
1 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. instant coffee granules, optional
2 heaping Tbsp. hemp hearts
14-16 ice cubes

Blend until smooth. Serve & enjoy!

The molasses could also be considered optional though it does add minerals & iron into your diet. I've found that this shake gives me a significant increase in energy - a good thing for the last trimester of my pregnancy, to be sure!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

All is Well

Another visit with the mid-wife is behind me ... it was a great appointment!

Choosing to use the midwifery service is a step of faith for us because of the higher risks associated with this pregnancy: my age, BP, blood sugar, multiple birth tendencies etc.

BUT God has given us back this option (having a mid-wife attend our birth) when we thought is was no longer an option...we'll go in faith.

The mid-wife actually detected Baby's heart beat using only the doppler yesterday - till now she had only gotten Baby's heartbeat on the cord and/or placenta. This Baby is tricky! Two doctors have also tried & failed to get Baby's heartbeat.

Of course, I know all is well cause Baby is very active, but they like to actually hear it too. Smile!

Appointments are now every two weeks - the countdown is on! We are so looking forward to Baby's arrival!

Just praying for a few necessities: an infant carrier/car seat being top priority for now. I wonder when & how God will provide?

To God be the Glory through Baby!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ride On

Originally, we had plans to look for a larger vehicle towards the end of the year - in good time for Baby's arrival in January '09 and a time at which we expect a few $$ to cover the expense.

Well, God very definitely led us to "shop" sooner. At a family gathering, Ken's brother suggested shopping for a vehicle in the US through "Craigslist". Out of curiousity, we checked it out. That was mid-August.

Immediately, we located a Suburban that was a nine passenger (a front bench seat instead of buckets - rare to say the least!). As it turned out, that "Burb" waited for us another two weeks - almost 4 weeks from the original posting.

The seller contacted us again with a lower price at the beginning of September - just after we had "discovered" that our van registration was to expire on September 14th. We had forgotten about that and now, we realized why God had led us to begin our shopping earlier than we had originally planned.

The whole purchase scenario seemed like a great fit - it turned out that the sellers are a fellow Christian homeschooling who needed to upsize to fit their family. (With 8 children 13 years and under they had just purchased a 12 passenger van so they wouldn't need to take two vehicles everywhere they went.) We enjoyed sweet fellowship with these folks the evening we went to purchase their Suburban.

...And that's why we were in Grand Forks, North Dakota when we got the call telling us that my sister had gone to glory!

In retrospect, now that we have the Suburban, we realize that it is not a "new" vehicle and there have certainly been challenges along the way:

- the windshield, which was replaced the day we bought it, LEAKS - err, but fixable.
- for a time, shortly after the purchase we thought we may not be able to register it in Canada due to some recall regulations, but God worked that out and all the paperwork is done.
- then last week, after a complete Manitoba safety check and about 300 km, while driving it, we nearly lost the front driver side wheel - the lug nuts were ALL loose, the tire crooked and almost off. The rest of the lug nuts were all only finger tight etc.and in a variety of sizes - who would have thought to check that?- BUT, God preserved us from this attack of the devil - alerting Ken to the problem and causing him to investigate BEFORE an accident occured. After tightening all the lug nuts, we limped home - and called the mechanic! A mere $55 put new lug nuts all around that fit properly and stay tight!

Having safetied the "Burb" we expect it will fill the need of the larger vehicle. Because it has a truck chassy it certainly has a greater capacity for the larger load of a growing family. Our Venture van was always hanging low with the full load of 4 adults and 4 children plus our gear though it has always served us well. Our last trip home from SK though - loaded and with the topper filled as well, it still did 30 miles to the gallon for gas mileage, pretty good/not bad!

To God be the Glory - through this provision!

Eternal Joy

Early on the morning of September 8th, Ken & I, as well as our three littles were in the middle of having our devotions at a hotel in Grand Forks, North Dakota. God had led us there to purchase a Suburban - a nine passenger vehicle that we will need once Baby arrives in January '09 ... but that's a story for another post ...

The phone call was from Corbyn, our oldest son, back home on the farm in MB. One does not really expect to hear from family at a hotel - this time however, he had received a call from Grandpa in Saskatoon and he needed to pass along the message:

My sister, Vonda Vernelle Wiebe, had passed away peacefully in her bed at her home in Saskatoon sometime during the earliest morning hours of September 8, 2008. Her passing came as a surprise to everyone as she had not been struggling with her health to any great extent. The coroner pronounced her death "due to pnuemonia" - a malady that had plagued her since her first month of life ... in fact, her first Christmas, at 1 month of age, she was hospitalized due to pnuemonia. A lifetime of pnuemonia bouts had deteriorated her lungs to such a degree that now they had just filled up leaving her no further breathing room. Yet she had not struggled, in fact the evening before our parents had spent a couple blessed hours with her and brother Vanden visiting and singing, she was even laughing and involved - just no indication of the eternal surprise that awaited us all.

It is in fact, surprising that she lived to be nearly 41 years old having nearly passed away traumatically numerous times during her short life. This picture was taken a year ago, right around her 40th Birthday (a big celebration):

Vonda's final journey into glory came so peacefully and without a need for anyone to try to intervene to sustain her life, that it offers us the assurance that this was indeed God's time to welcome her HOME. Her work on earth was done. She has gone to her ETERNAL JOY! We are so blessed to know where she is, that she is no longer suffering and that we have the assurance of meeting her again someday, when she will be there to welcome us to glory!

In reflection now, we are humbled to see how vast an influence Vonda's life had on those she knew - her family, her teachers, her Care-Givers, her peers, her Province!

She loved people & eminated an infectious joy to everyone around her - melding her heart with theirs. Each person was special to her - and she related to each according to their own special personality. Though she never spoke in English, she communicated marvelously in her God-given way!

We miss her dearly, though we grieve not as those without hope.

Her brother, Vanden, who is also a physically & mentally challenged young man who lived with her most of her life, misses her the most. His life has the greatest void - her joy, her presence, her laughter is silent now, leaving a huge emptiness in his home.

If/when you pray for us, please pray for Vanden most of all - how can he understand and grieve her loss? We do not know the extent of his comprehension though we sense now that it is way beyond what we ever knew.

To God be the Glory through Vonda's life!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Boys Joys

Corbyn has been blessed to get some work helping out a local area farmer. He's enjoyed the opportunity to learn many new things: driving tractor, baling hay & straw, rowing the bales (putting them into rows for easy pick-up with the semi-truck/trailer), loading the semi, going for parts when/as needed, building corrals and who knows what else ... for an aspiring young farmer those experiences are invaluable.

And that is just one bonus. He really enjoyed giving his younger three brothers their first rides in a tractor as well - he called it a field trip . Smile. Literally!

I'm just sorry we didn't get that in picture.

Another bonus, (which was the reason for the littles being at the field in the first place) was that Corbyn got to salvage the broken straw bales for use this winter for his/our cattle. The option was to burn those broken bales. His boss was only too happy to let Ken & Corbyn pick up the brokens.

And there are more bonuses to this job, all in addition to the $$ he is earning. It gives him a sense of purpose as he/we struggle to find our "place" in this new setting.

It was an answer to our prayers for Corbyn. Once we had settled into the house, then the shop and gotten much of the yard work done, there needed to be more to occupy his time and hands. The farm work was God's answer and it is good - at least until further notice.

The younger boys have had a great start to their school work this Fall despite the many distractions and detours (more in later posts), but in addition to their lessons they were also hankering to earn some spending money. That too became a matter of prayer - and God provided.

Timothy especially, at age 7, really wanted to earn a little money (after all he used to earn a little cleaning eggs for us on a daily basis). Once he'd opened his bank account here, he wanted to have the expectation of adding to it. He'd asked his Dad if he could take care of a few chickens for him and sell the extra eggs ... well, to date we haven't been able to find a place to buy chickens. We can buy farm eggs, yes, but they are nothing like what we produced on our organic farm at Warman - we're still looking for some laying hens ...

A couple of weeks ago a neighbor whom we had not yet met stopped by having heard that we have a bunch of boys - he wondered if some of our boys would like to earn a little spending money catching gophers/moles on his pasture and hay fields which are just across the road from our place. His land NEEDS a measure of control for those litte rodents!

What a perfect "job" for young boys!!!!!! So Carsyn & Brayden are using the traps Mr. Walker provided to catch the gophers while Timothy and the twins continue to trap gophers for Daddy on our pasture & field. It seems like a never ending job after so many years of neglect, but it is necessary for the safety of cattle and for less obstructions (dirt piles) on the hay fields which makes haying difficult and eventually impossible.

At $2 a tail, the spending money adds up though it isn't making a good "living". It is just perfect for boys. Just fyi, the farmers here can submit the tails to the municipality for a $1 reimbursement.

Again, we count these bonuses:
- getting paid to get physical exercise
- motivation to get physical exercise
- meals for the dog and cats (Dad & Mom get that bonus, reduced bills)
- working together in a "business"
- etc.

As mother to boys I don't always take part in their adventures, but I'm enjoying the opportunity to get my own physical exercise (& reaping the benefits) by accompanying Timothy and the twins on their gopher trips each morning and evening. Our land is so rolling that a little 1/2 to 2/3 mile walk through the bush and into the pasture is a nice little workout, not to mention quality time spent with my sons.

And pleasure is added when Ken can accompany us. He, of course, adds his own ideas to the whole multi-tasking endeavour by grooming the trail as we walk it (tossing small broken branches off into the deeper brush - and next thing I know he'll have the hatchet with him to knock out those few stumps that are impeeding a safe walk -- Ah-h, he's my Protector! I am so-o-o blessed!)

So God is leading and guiding us in every way. It is so exciting to see Him work!

To God be the Glory!

Time Machine

Here is the time machine that projected us back from the past into the present. The tower was a used one, requiring Ken & Corbyn to dismantle it, move it to our farm and then anchor it in a cubic yard of concrete (new challenging experiences all around!). When that was set, Corbyn mounted the tower once again. We were blessed to get all of that done for $500 as opposed to buying new and having someone else install it at a total cost of about $3400.

As a bonus, they got a tree stand for their hunting expeditions when they bought the necessary full-body safety harness. Hunting season starts here on Monday - and there are A LOT of deer in this area, literally in our back yard.

This is just one of the many new, challenging and fun experiences presented to our young men since we've moved here.

Again, it took faith: First of all, Ken felt led to pursue this I-netlink option for our internet connection instead of the Xplornet connection that the former owners had because that one had already proved unreliable during the brief month we had tried it out. Since that was Ken's lead, the rest of us needed to honor that - it was amazing to continually experience God's patience and peace throughout the month+ that we were without internet service.

Then once Ken & Corbyn had the tower set in place next to our house, Ken called I-netlink once again to re-book the install at which time they informed him that this tower, at 48 feet was likely not tall enough - it should have been 64 feet. That could have been discouraging news had we not felt certain of God's timely provision of this used tower in the first place. So we continued to wait with peace, trusting that God was in control and this equipment would work for us.

The tower, with the 10 foot mast added by I-netlink is now 56.5 feet high. High enough to get over the tops of all the trees between here and the Pratt tower about 4 kilometres away.

It does work, with the signal coming in at 100%. Could we expect anything less?

To God be the glory!

Friday, October 17, 2008

We're Re-Connected

We have finally been re-connected to the internet. We've been without for over a month now - that's why there haven't been any recent postings - but I have a bunch of posts planned to update what has been going on in our lives.

God has been good!

More later ...